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Disability Strategy Underway


Work has begun on developing a strategy to eradicate barriers for people with disabilities, Health Minister Annette King and Disability Issues Minister Ruth Dyson said today.

"The strategy is a top priority for the Government and it will be completed by next year's budget round," Mrs King said.

"Work has begun on the strategy, which aims to allow people with disabilities to participate in society more fully. We will be seeking the help of the disability community in preparing the strategy," Ms Dyson said.

Health briefing papers had identified problems with disability services, she said.

"Issues needing to be addressed include the rights of people with disabilities, a lack of leadership in disability issues, service gaps, and a lack of coordination of efforts by different government agencies.

"There is a lack of good information about the demand for and use of disability services. The briefing papers also show there is little involvement by Maori in planning and delivering services for Maori. The same is true for Pacific peoples," Ms Dyson said.

The goals of the strategy will be;
 ensuring the rights of people with disability are acknowledged and represented
 promoting partnership with Maori
 promoting partnership with Pacific people
 promoting habilitation and rehabilitation
 empowering people with disabilities and their family/whanau
 ensuring policy funding and services are cohesive and integrated across services

 promoting certainty and consistency of service provision within available funding

"This Government is beginning as it means to continue. There has already been a separate health briefing on disability services provided to this incoming Government," Mrs King said.

"We have a Minister responsible for this area and we will develop a national strategy to improve services," she said.

A key aspect of the strategy would be the development of appropriate targets and ways of measuring them, to ensure progress was regularly made and assessed, Ms Dyson said.

ENDS

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